Black Earth Tiger Review

artist: Emanuel date: 03/13/2008 category: compact discs
Emanuel: Black Earth Tiger
Release Date: Aug 6, 2007
Label: Vagrant
Genres: Rock
Number Of Tracks: 11
Emanuel's Black Earth Tiger is a lackluster effort that tries to be both emo and metal.
 Sound: 5
 Lyrics: 5.5
 Overall Impression: 5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 18 comments vote for this album:
overall: 1.7
Black Earth Tiger Reviewed by: UG Team, on september 27, 2007
0 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sound: Please say it ain't so Vagrant Records. The label, which has one of the best acts today, The Hold Steady, also has this act, Emanuel, one of the most boring and indistinctive bands in recent history. Even the band's name, which was shortened from Emanuel Nice, says please try to distinguish us from the multitude of other hard rock/emo/wimp metal/screamo bands vying unsuccessfully for your attention with first name names. Put aside the lackluster name and you're still left with a band that sounds like all of these bands that try to appeal to both the wanna-be punksters and wanna-be metalheads. Emanuel's attitude is if Fall Out Boy can do it, so can we. The problem is that Fall Out Boy, despite what you may think about them, have achieved and maintained a high level of success because they have been able to separate themselves from this lump of bands by being just a little different, both image-wise and on record. The bands, such as Emanuel, that try to share Fall Out Boy's success by imitating them only put themselves more in the lump's center. Remember back to when grunge first became popular in the early '90s because of successful records by Seattle bands Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Well, Emanuel would be Bush. Actually, that would be a compliment since those bands have at least a few decent tunes. They would be more like Candlebox, a band everyone loved to hate until Creed and Nickelback came along. Emanuel's second album, Black Earth Tiger, is apparently a big improvement over their debut album, Soundtrack to a Headrush, according to the press material Vagrant Records included with the album. I haven't heard their debut, but if Vagrant is correct, then that must be one of the worst albums of all time, judging it based on the quality of Black Earth Tiger. Black Earth Tiger captures Emanuel attempting to be both an emo and screaming metal band. Nearly every song contains a verse chorus verse structure that starts as emo for the verse and then moves on to screaming choruses by lead singer Matt Breen, followed by another emo verse. After more than a dozen listens to this repetitive structure, nothing stands out for me. In fact my favorite song on the album is the two minute Whiteflag (Intro), which begins the album. This song doesn't contain the band's trademark sound that is found throughout the rest of the album, instead it is just a short intro that slowly builds to the next song Cottonmouth. // 2

Lyrics: I feel kind of bad for the instrument players in Emanuel. They have the chops to do much better. But being behind Breen, who is the main songwriter of the band, is a huge disservice to their skills. His vocals don't add anything to the group, and his lyrics are even worse. F--k the world is the main line in My Antapex that gets repeated over and over. People hearing this uninspired angst will more likely be sympathetic to the world than Breen and his dribble. The rest of the lyrics on Black Earth Tiger are no better. // 1

Overall Impression: Based on Black Earth Tiger, Emanuel won't leave much of an impression on listeners. If the band gets another shot at recording another album, they should pick a genre, instead of two, and then diversify their sound while staying within that genre. By doing this they may gain some loyal genre fans -- the fans that provide the necessary foundation for any successful band. // 2

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overall: 8.7
Black Earth Tiger Reviewed by: hopespaul, on march 13, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: When I first heard about this band, they have already received all the criticism from their "fanbase" for changing the sound. However, I believe one cannot give a bad review for a band simply because they progressed, so I will attempt to write a review that isn't completely personal, bias, and based on a moment of rage. Black Earth Tiger has a dark tone to all of their songs, which doesn't appeal to everyone. However, those with a taste for emotionally charged post-hardcore music will definately love this CD. The band has progressed from their previous release both musically and emotionally since their emotions are becoming more complex, and their old fanbase couldn't keep up with Emanuel's growth. This CD has some nu-metal grooves incorporated in some of the songs, which definitely show strong emotion coming not just from the vocalist but from the musicians as well. Black Earth Tiger doesn't exactly fit one genre, so my best attempt to classify their sound would be post-harcore/screamo/emo. Vocals are somewhat less whiny than most in the genre, and the guitar riffs, or rather power chords feature far too few interesting progressions that haven't been explored in this genre. This whole story is very reminiscent of what happened to infamous Finch, new CD was much darker with more complex emotions than previous much more high-appeal release, and the story of Emanuel seems to be the same. However, it is unclear where the band is going from here with numerous rumors floating that the band was breaking up (later proven false by the band on their myspace). The worst thing about this CD is that some of the songs become too repetetive within themselves, where a 4 minute song could have easily been a 2:30. Also, from a guitarist point of view there aren't too many complex riffs that could be expected from a band in this genre. // 8

Lyrics: the lyrics are definitely emotionally charged to great extent, and some of the songs leave you thinking about the meaning instead of the very popular "she left me now I'm sad I wanna kill myself" prominent in today's emo music. my favorite song on the record is "Scenotaph". The singer uses a few interesting plays on words, such as "pharmacy in my pocket" and his tone is darker than ever. The whole song is based on the phrase "spread your legs and f--k the world" and one could see this in many different contexts, so there are enough lines for inner thinking and interpretation to be abstract. // 10

Overall Impression: I will not base my judgement on previous work because it's such a controversial issue, but Black Earth Tiger is a step in the right direction musically, but their label could work on the marketing aspect so to appeal to different audience to keep the band alive. two most impressive songs on this record are "Scenotaph" and "Cottonmouth", and they're worth downloading to feel the sound of the band. The best thing about this CD is that it is great for as background music on a drive home when the mood is just right, because it is musically quite simple, but the emotional charge cannot be measured on paper, so everyone is going to feel about this record differently. However, this album is great for straight-up listening, the lyrics offer enough to sustain your attention throughout the whole CD if the instruments don't. A right step for this band would be to gather up the guitar players and work out some more interesting riffs, while keeping the intensity. what a lot of bands in this genre are doing right now is going nuts on the delay to keep the intensity and have complex "riffage" at the same time. // 8

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